By Lauren Johnson, Alligator Contributing Writer 
January 19, 2016

In the name of fun and charity, Athena Conde threw colored powder at runners Saturday. Conde, 12, said she volunteered at the Color In Motion 5k to support the Gainesville chapter of the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida. Even more so, Conde said she enjoyed coating people in shades of blue, yellow, orange and green. “Runners are not colorful enough,” Conde said excitedly. “I can’t wait to go back to school to tell people why my face is blue.”

During the event, which was sponsored by EFOF and held at the Alachua County Fairgrounds, volunteers coated runners in biodegradable powder during an untimed race. Blaine Hawkes, a Color In Motion 5k manager, said about 500 people participated in the event. The money raised will go toward maintenance and utilities at EFOF to help the organization keep its lights on while hosting programs in areas such as stress management, said Mandy Hancock, the community development manager for EFOF. EFOF also provides educational services to the community, along with case management and medical services to those who are unable to see a neurologist or pay for medication, Hancock said “Everyone probably knows someone with epilepsy,” she said. “Getting those services and information out to people is invaluable.”

Cade Monk, a 14-year-old Buchholz High School freshman, was the first to pass the finish line. “It felt good not seeing anyone behind me,” Monk said. Monk tries to run about two races a month. “I try to run charity races,” he said. “Why run for no reason?” John Finnerty, an 18-year-old Santa Fe College student, said some volunteers take their job more seriously than others. “Some of the throwers may be a bit corrupt,” he said. “They’re half color-throwers, half hitmen.”

As the race ended with a performance by DJ James Phabulous, some people looked forward to the next event. Volunteer Becky Taylor said she’s empathetic toward people with health complications, partly because her 4-year-old daughter suffers from seizures. Taylor said she wants to volunteer for Color In Motion 5k again. “I am for anything with a cause,” she said. “When it hits home, it means more to you.”

 

Ilana Bitton

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